ëãåøâì

Eli Gutman (left) believes Israel will qualify for the 2016 European Championships

ISRAEL will never have a better chance of reaching a major football championship – and manager Eli Guttman believes he can lead them to France in 2016. A change in the qualifying rules to accommodate a record number of 24 teams for the Championships, means the top-two sides in the group automatically qualify, while the third-place team will contest a play-off. However, while critics of the new format suggest it’s almost harder not to qualify, Guttman, while confident of leading the Israelis to their first major tournament since 1970, is still preparing to take the scenic route in order to get there. He says: “I will be delighted if we manage to do so from second place however, our target is to reach the play-offs from third place and try and qualify that way.”

EXCITING teams in tennis and not just with the fact that Messers Murray, Nadal, Federer or Djorkovic failed to reach the final of the US Open. One of the great innovations of the modern game is the use of Hawk-Eye, however an Israeli organisation are looking to take this to the next level by the use of PlaySight. Developed by former Israel Air Force engineers, Gilad Bloom, a coach and former ATP Top 100 player, described its potential as: “Imagine, in a few years, when every point at every tournament, from juniors to college to club tennis, can be replayed by a line judge with an iPad.” Now, if only Israel could develop a top-20 player.

STILL GOING strong in the swimming pool is Susan Halter. The 87-year-old may have been the oldest competitor at the Barnet Master spring meeting, but that didn’t stop her winning the 50 & 100m backstroke, along with the 25m front crawl. Next up for the 1948 Olympic swimmer is the Short Course British Championships at Ponds Ford, Sheffield.